Virtual event had relatively few glitches

The Cincinnati Bengals selected Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow of LSU with the first pick in an unprecedented virtual NFL draft. The biggest drama on this night wasn’t who was going to be the No. 1 pick—Burrow sewed that up a long time ago—or how the top 5 would shake out. It was whether the NFL could pull off a draft from 100 or so remote sites to an audience that surely exceeded the millions who regularly tune in for the league’s biggest off-season exercise. What they saw was a relatively smooth production with only occasional glitches, something that was remarkable just by itself, the AP reports. Dr. Anthony Fauci started things off with words of both caution and hope before Commissioner Roger Goodell read out first-round picks from the basement of his Bronxville, NY, home.

The players mostly sat on their couches with a few family members, no commissioner to hug, and no fancy suit to wear. Chase Young had a large picture of his late grandfather in front of him as he was picked second by Washington, a touching scene even without words. Others hugged their mothers, fathers, significant others, though they all kept the gatherings to less than 10 people as mandated by social distancing guidelines. It wasn’t perfect, but it was real. So real that Burrow could hear the cheers from his home in Athens, Ohio.

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